Theology is derived from a combination of two Greek words that mean “the study of God.” Christian theology is an endeavor to know God as He is depicted and explained in the Bible. Although no theology will conclusively describe the nature of God because God is infinitely and eternally higher, God is comfortable in the extent to which humans are able to understand Him. In regard to this consideration, theology is therefore described as the art and science of understanding the nature of God to any extent possible through an organized and logistic manner. Though some people avoid theology on the basis that it is divisible, theology is uniting and a good thing when appropriately understood (McGrath, 2000).
In broad terms, theology is defined as the study of the nature of God and the association of the human and divine. It analyzes doctrines concerning issues such as sin, faith and grace and takes into consideration the conditions of God’s covenant with man in matters like salvation and eschatology. Theology normally assumes the influence of religious teacher or the legitimacy of a religious experience. It is different from philosophy in that it focuses on justifying and explicating a faith using quasi-philosophical means as opposed to criticizing the fundamental assumptions of such a faith. The study of religion is thus reading the Word of God in an attempt to discover His nature (McGrath, 2000).
Response to Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins claim that theology has no place in the university is not true. Theology has a place in the university because it plays a significant role in career building of the theology students. Theology is a subject like any other only that it is unique in the sense that it mainly focuses on the understanding of God. In fact, Dawkins has observed that the universities departments of theology have scholars in other subjects such as history, linguistics, literature, ecclesiastical art and music psychology and sociology among others. Their preference of the subject implies that theology is a subject of substance just like other subjects in the universities. It shows that they have an interest in that area just like other scholars would have an interest in other subjects. Graduates in theology find employment and build their careers just like graduates from other subjects. Since it fulfils one of the objectives of the university, career building, then theology is not only a subject but a very important subject (Howard, 2006).
Theology and careers
Many graduates of theology find employment in pastoral ministries, community service and instructing in colleges or seminaries. The graduates have an added advantage in that it instills critical thinking skills required for philosophical and theological inquiries. These enable the graduates to enter into a variety of other careers such as entrepreneurship or even get jobs in both government and non-government establishments. This proves that theology is very important in career development and has a place in the university. Some universities have also recognized the importance of theology. The Oxford’s Theology Faculty for instance is the biggest in the country and has housed several scholars of both national and international backgrounds. The Faculty has been expanding and has in the recent past extended its curriculum to include the Study of Religion and operate in the main religious ethnicities of the world (Howard, 2006).
Cultural importance of theology
Since theology consists of other worldly perspectives such as cosmology, anthropology and historiography, it has a significant impact in matters such as cultural evolution and the universal intellectual life. The prophetic theology of history described in the old testament of the Bible had a great impact in the development of the idea of history. The theology is in fact the basis for such history. This shows that theology is significant as the basis of development of some historical aspects. These aspects are considered as significant cultural phenomena (McGrath, 2000).